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Peter Alliss

Peter Alliss
— Golfer —
Personal information
Full name Peter Alliss
Born (1931-02-28) 28 February 1931
Berlin, Germany
Nationality  England
Residence Hindhead, Surrey, England
Spouse Joan (m.1953)
Jackie (m.1972)
Children Gary, Carol (with Joan)
Sara, Simon, Henry (with Jackie)
Turned professional 1947
Retired 1975
Professional wins 23[1]
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament CUT: 1966, 1967
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship 8th/T8: 1954, 1961, 1962, 1969
PGA Championship DNP
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2012 (member page)
Harry Vardon Trophy 1964, 1966

Peter Alliss (born 28 February 1931) is a former English professional golfer, and is a BBC television presenter and commentator, author and golf course designer. Alliss is known for his charismatic and unique style of commentary and banter, often displaying a witty demeanour. Since the death of Henry Longhurst in 1978, he has been regarded by many as the "Voice of (British) Golf".[2][3] In December 2011, he was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category[4] and was inducted in May 2012.


  • Early years and playing career 1
  • Broadcasting career 2
    • Criticism of players 2.1
  • Personal life 3
  • Tournament wins 4
  • Results in major championships 5
  • Team appearances 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early years and playing career

His father Percy was a professional golfer who won several tournaments on the European golf circuit in the 1920s and 1930s. Peter Alliss was born in Berlin while his father Percy was employed as a club professional there. He attended a private boarding school in the south of England[5] which he left at the age of 14 (then the minimum school leaving age in the UK), and began his career as a professional golfer in 1947, at the age of 16. Peter had an older brother, Percy Alexander (known as Alec), who was also a professional golfer.

Between 1954 and 1969, Alliss won 21 professional tournaments,[6] including three British PGA Championships in 1957, 1962 and 1965. His first round of 63 in the 1961 British PGA Championship was a tournament record at the time and remained the joint-lowest round in the tournament until Robert Karlsson's round of 62 in 2010.[7]

In September 1958, Alliss won the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Opens in three successive weeks.[6] He played on ten teams representing England in the World Cup. Alliss played on eight Ryder Cup teams (1953, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, and 1969), compiling a 43 per cent winning percentage. Percy and Peter Alliss were the first father and son to both participate in the Ryder Cup (Antonio Garrido and his son Ignacio later became the second).

Alliss had five top-10 finishes in the Open Championship, coming closest in 1954 at Royal Birkdale when he finished just four shots behind the champion Peter Thomson. In an interview in 2011, Alliss said: "My biggest regret is that the Alliss family deserved to win an Open Championship. I had the talent to win. It just never happened.[5]

Alliss gave Sean Connery golf lessons before the filming of the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, which involved a scene where Connery, as Bond, played golf against gold magnate Auric Goldfinger at Stoke Park Golf Club in Buckinghamshire.[6] The lessons started a life-long love of playing golf for Connery.

Alliss's competitive career was almost over by the time the European Tour was formally established in 1972, but he played in some events in the Tour's early years, making his last appearance on the tour in 1975.

Broadcasting career

His first television work was for the BBC at the 1961 Open Championship, when he was still a golfer who had competed in the tournament. After his retirement as a player, Alliss worked full-time in television, becoming the lead BBC golf commentator in 1978.[8]

Alliss also worked for ESPN and ABC Sports in the United States from 1975 through 2010. He has continued to appear as a guest analyst on ESPN's coverage of the Open Championship since 2011.

As well as being a commentator for the BBC, Alliss has also worked part time for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He is widely regarded as the best known golf broadcaster in Britain. He has hosted a total of 140 Pro Celebrity Golf TV programmes and was the host of Around with Alliss.

In 1997, a six-part television series A Golfer's Travels was broadcast in numerous countries across the world. The series featured Alliss playing golf in exotic locations around the world accompanied by a variety of famous guests including Gene Hackman, Christopher Lee and F. W. de Klerk.[9]

Alliss is also involved in golf course architecture. His first course design partner was Dave Thomas, with whom he created over 50 courses, including The Belfry, which has staged the Ryder Cup several times and is now the home of the Professional Golfers' Association. Alliss then joined forces with Clive Clark, and added another 22 courses to his portfolio (including Old Thorns Golf Course in Hampshire).

Alliss became captain of the Professional Golfers' Association for the second time in 1987.[10] He has also been the president of the British Greenkeepers' Association, and was the first president of the European Women's Professional Golfers' Association.

In 2002, Alliss was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Bournemouth University. In 2003, Alliss published an illustrated book Peter Alliss' Golf Heroes which won the 'Best Illustrated Book' category of the British Sports Book Awards.[11] In July 2005, he was honoured by the University of St Andrews, shortly before The Open Golf Championship, with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

In 2012, Alliss was chosen to receive the Golf Foundation's 'Spirit of Golf award' not only in recognition of the way he has made the sport entertaining in the eyes of young people, but also for the support he has given to junior golf and his commitment to the Golf Foundation over many years.

Alliss has revealed that in 1993 he turned down an appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to golf.[12]

In 2014, Alliss helped to create and provide commentary on the video flyovers of all five course layouts of a favourite classic links course at Seaton Carew Golf Club in North East England.[13] and commented during these programmes that the Seaton links were "the tenth oldest in England and a true championship links to challenge all levels of players." [14]

Criticism of players

In 1999, Alliss received criticism from sections of the British media for scathing comments he made when Jean van de Velde collapsed in the Open Championship at Carnoustie. The Frenchman had a triple-bogey seven on the final hole when he only needed a double-bogey six to win the Open. During his commentary, Alliss branded Jean van de Velde's actions as "totally ridiculous" and said he was guilty of "pure madness". Daily Mail correspondent Neil Wilson accused Alliss of taking a "curmudgeonly" approach in his commentary.[15]

Alliss is reported to have previously had a frosty relationship with Nick Faldo, after Faldo was infuriated at Alliss describing him as "a typical only child".[16] However, Alliss and Faldo later went on to work together at ABC Sports from 2004–2007, and again as part of the BBC's broadcast commentary team for the 2012 Open Championship.[17]

In May 2008, Alliss was involved in a heated exchange of views with English golfer Nick Dougherty over the course conditions at Wentworth Club during the BMW PGA Championship. After Alliss had spoken out in his commentary against the poor scoring from players and their complaints over the condition of the Wentworth greens, Dougherty accused Alliss of "disgusting commentary" and of being "out of touch". Dougherty said: "I wish we could have taken him out there and shown him how difficult it was." Alliss responded by accusing Dougherty and his generation of being "delicate", "thin-skinned", and unable to take constructive criticism.[18]

In a 2011 interview, Alliss criticised Tiger Woods, saying: "The aura has gone. He used to be nicer and he became grumpy. He hasn't done anything to recapture the public's affection." Alliss said that he doesn't believe that Woods will surpass Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major championships.[5] A year earlier, in 2010, Alliss said of Woods: "I think his father has a lot to do with how Tiger is. His father was a frightening bully."[19]

During the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield, Alliss criticised Ian Poulter for making what he said were "childish comments" after his opening round of 72 in the tournament. Poulter said some of the pin positions were a "joke" and the 18th needed a "windmill and a clown face", like a crazy golf course. Alliss responded by saying: "Poulter's remarks are just childish. You can't say stuff about windmills and clown's faces. It's just ridiculous. I never heard Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer come out with comments like that. A lot of others give up before they even get going. It's a PhD not an O-level."[20]

Personal life

For over 30 years Alliss has lived in the village of Hindhead in Surrey, in a large house set in five acres of land.[19]

In 1972, Alliss married his second wife, Jackie. Alliss has three sons: Gary, Simon, and Henry; and two daughters Carol and Sara.[21] Alliss had a family tragedy when his third daughter, Victoria, was born severely handicapped and died at the age of 11.[12]

In 2010, at the age of 79, Alliss said that he was still able to shoot a golf score under his age (fewer shots than 79).[19]

Alliss is a patron of the Wildlife Ark Trust, which is committed to the conservation in the UK of the red squirrel and the water vole.[22]

Tournament wins

This list is incomplete

Results in major championships

Tournament 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Open Championship CUT T31 T9 T8 CUT DNP T12 T11 T16
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Open Championship CUT T8 T8 T18 CUT T47 T20 WD T13 8
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship T32 T47 T31 T51 CUT

Note: Alliss never played in the U.S. Open nor the PGA Championship.
DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10

Team appearances


  1. ^ "Peter Alliss – Golf Career". Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "The BBC at the Open".  
  3. ^ "The Observer Profile: Peter Alliss".  
  4. ^ "Sandy Lyle, Peter Alliss picked for Hall". ESPN. Associated Press. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Barrett, Connell (29 June 2011). "Golf Magazine Interview: Peter Alliss". Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "About Peter". Peter Alliss. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "BMW PGA Championship 2012 – Statistics". PGA European Tour. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Kelley, Brent. "Peter Alliss – Biography of Golfer and Broadcaster Peter Alliss". Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "A Golfer's Travels with Peter Alliss". Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "PGA Captains". Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "All Award Winners".  
  12. ^ a b "Peter Alliss: Golf legend or liability?".  
  13. ^ "Course Flyover". Seaton Carew Golf Club. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Robinson, Paul (July 2014). "Northern Golfer – Seaton Carew". Offstone. p. 14. 
  15. ^ "Allis defends Open commentary". BBC Sport. 12 August 1999. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Open season".  
  17. ^ "Sir Nick Faldo joins the BBC Open team for 2012". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Corrigan, James (26 May 2008). "Alliss in war of words with 'thin-skinned' Dougherty".  
  19. ^ a b c "Nicholas Owen meets the voice of golf, Peter Alliss". Surrey Life. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Hodgetts, Rob. "Open 2013: Ian Poulter & Phil Mickelson criticise Muirfield set-up". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Laidlaw, Renton (7 May 2012). "Peter Alliss". Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Quotes from our patrons". Wildlife Ark Trust. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

External links

  • Home page
  • Profile from ABC Sports

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